Saturday, June 19, 2010

Twenty-Fourth Week

Monday, June 14, 2010
America’s Favorite Epidemiologist and I took the day off from work to go on Boaz patrol, because his parents had to be out of town. After a visit to the Queens Zoo, we went to visit Grandma Ruth in an area of Queens known to cartographers as Gotthelf Acres. She delights in watching Boaz march around her apartment where he knows a large jar of M&Ms sits in the refrigerator. In a drawer that used to hold many of my prized possessions, I found my Cornell University student ID card, a red plastic rectangle with my photo, name and such laminated on it, along with punches, as you would get on a railroad ticket from the conductor, for each semester in attendance. Besides the youthfulness of my photograph, I noticed something about my head which, as many of you have observed, looks like a basketball. In the photograph from the Fall of 1962, my head is shaped like a football, that is, elongated and sort of pointed at each end. It may have been the angle of the camera or something in the reproduction process, but the difference is evident. I hope the next time I try to go to a fraternity party, no one looks too closely at my ID.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Did you know that gas ranges purchased in this century have motherboards controlling temperature, time and cooking functions, and that these motherboards can burn out, and that a gas range purchased in 2003 can have a motherboard that is no longer manufactured, and that the absence of a working motherboard prevents you from using your oven for cooking, and if you want to use your oven for cooking you have to spend at least a thousand dollars to get a new one? Now you know.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I went to Mei Li Wah Bakery, 62-64 Bayard Street, for lunch. It is more of a café then a bakery, serving dim sum to order, congee, rice and noodle dishes. I had a very good rice noodle shrimp roll along with a baked roast pork bun and fried sticky rice with chicken, basically a clump of sticky rice with a modest chicken filling rolled in an omelet. With the temperature near 80, I drank a Diet Coke instead of tea. All together, it cost $8.55.

Thursday, June 17, 2010
A big day, today. It is America’s Favorite Epidemiologist’s Birthday, and America’s Loveliest Nephrologist is flying in from California to spend the next few days with us. I love when the two of them get together, because I can watch anything on television and take anything out of the refrigerator without being noticed.
The Jewish people have faced extraordinary challenges over the centuries, yet kept on. So, my election to the Board of Trustees of the West End Synagogue last night should be viewed in perspective.
After this excitement, lunch was an afterthought, but by chance I hit a winner. New Malaysia Restaurant, Chinatown Arcade # 28; that places it right in the middle of the passageway that connects the Bowery and Elizabeth Street, between Canal & Bayard Streets. I ordered honey- glazed steak with fried rice ($6.95) and received a very generous portion of both. The meat was flank steak, chewy as you expect flank steak to be, but not gristley or fatty. There was 4 or 5 pieces about ½ inch thick, easily ½ pound of meat, in a sauce that was barely sweet, more tangy. First rate. This was knife and fork food and even the young Chinese couple at the next table were eating the same dish the same way I was.
Even as I ate this excellent dish, I was staring at the Western man seated with four friends at another nearby table. He was wearing a short sleeve shirt, and, at first, I was only able to see part of the tattoo on the back of his left upper arm, which read: SOME MADNESS IN LOVE. I kept shifting around to try to see up his sleeve to read the start of the message. Only when he stood up to leave was I able to see: THERE IS ALWAYS SOME MADNESS IN LOVE. But, the back of the other upper arm continued with: THERE IS ALWAYS SOME REASON IN MADNESS. The Internet quickly informed me that this is a quote from Nietzsche, which I did not know until after I finished my honey-glazed steak with fried rice.

Friday, June 18, 2010
This turned out to be a near-great lunch hour, not just a good lunch hour. I headed back to Jing Fong Restaurant, 20 Elizabeth Street, that wonderful, massive dim sum emporium. Right after being seating with 4 Chinese women, A, B, C and G (which I’ll explain in a moment), I noticed that about 1/4 of the restaurant was curtained off and music was coming from that private section. I was hoping for a wedding or at least a bris, but it was merely a retirement party if you can call "mere" a group of 300 or so guests. Back at my table with A, B, C and G for Granny, but apparently the mother of C, these middle-aged women provided live sport in the absence of television sets showing the World Cup. Jing Fong, as is current dim sum practice, marks a card at your setting with every dish served. The card is divided into space for small, medium and large dishes, with prices fixed by category. Additionally, there is room for special dishes and their special price. The card is tallied and becomes the check. As their lunch ended, the ladies started battling over the check, a custom I’ve frequently witnessed before by Chinese men. A and B snatched the card back and forth. Finally, B grabbed on and held in spite of A’s shrieking. With A distracted, C slapped a 5 dollar bill on the table as a tip. This angered A, who got out her own 5 dollar bill, grabbed C’s 5 dollar bill and shoved it into G’s handbag. G registered no protest as A proclaimed her victory, although I thought they should have tipped $10 considering how much they ate including special orders from the kitchen, but I kept quiet. While B was listening to A, C grabbed the card from B and left the table to pay before another round-robin began. Several times I offerred to throw my card into the middle of the fray, but no one seemed interested.
Walking back to the courthouse, I looked in the window of a variety store and was attracted to "Bubbles Super Gun," a battery-operated soap bubble shooting gun with LED lights. I knew that Sunday’s Gotthelf-Poloner-Webber (strictly alphabetical you understand) Bye-Bye-Boaz-BBQ absolutely required this. Now, I have to get home on the subway without being stopped and frisked.

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